The Last Wave for Chris Arreola

By Timothy Seaver on December 16, 2015
The Last Wave for Chris Arreola
He scored a disputed win over a former sparring partner. (Joe Tarlecky/Team Kauffman)

Kauffman is a decent fighter with a respectable record. But Arreola didn’t handle him as an elite fighter would…

This past Saturday night Chris Arreola set out to prove that he is still a fighter worthy to ride the center car in a ticker tape parade. Instead, he looked like the lonely street sweeper pushing the discarded confetti.

In what amounts to a ‘Keeping-his-nose-above-water’ victory, Arreola scored a disputed win over a former sparring partner named Travis Kauffman. For this one-time opponent of Vitali Klitschko, and Tomasz Adamek, the W on his record was not the most important thing he needed to accomplish. He needed to prove that he was still a legitimate heavyweight contender and serious threat for the title (any title).

This he failed to do.

Even if Kauffman had not deserved the victory (as many believed he did), Arreola showed that he was no longer at the elite level. When he hit the canvas in the fourth round, and nearly failed to reach the fifth, it was a signal to everyone that he no longer has what it takes to compete with the best in the world.

Unfortunately, this may not hinder his chances at fighting for another belt. In fact, the disputed victory keeps his name out there as a viable opponent for one of the several titlists. The belts are once again scattered around the division. Tyson Fury is holding the WBA and WBO belts. Deontay Wilder in possession of the WBC crown. While Vyacheslav Glazkov will likely compete for the IBF title at some future date.

Politics has divided the crown, and if history tells us anything, it’s not likely to unite them anytime soon. Between the three belt holders, there is bound to be a man looking to add an easy win to his résumé. A victory against Arreola would be high on the reward end, and low on risk end. Defeating Arreola would feel like an actual accomplishment when in reality it would simply mean that a more deserving, but lesser known, fighter had been passed over.

To stay relevant it’s smart for a fighter to keep busy. And he doesn’t necessarily have to conquer the best in the world. Kauffman is a decent fighter with a respectable record. And he was a worthy adversary at this point in Chris’s career. But Arreola didn’t handle him as an elite fighter would.

A quick glance at his recent ring activity can tell anyone that Arreola is not worthy of sharing the ring with a man who has a championship belt, even one that was dubiously awarded. He lost twice to Bermane Stiverne. These losses were a kind of gift to Stiverne, since without them no one would know who Stiverne is. Arreola might have been lucky to get a draw against Fred Kassi, a tough but limited guy. And then there was this questionable win against Kauffman. In between he managed an eight-round decision to journeyman Curtis Harper. The highlight of this period was a first round KO over Seth Mitchell, a fight which only proved that Mitchell didn’t really belong in the professional ring.

In boxing a fighter can hold his head high if he shared the ring with a champion, even if he never held a belt himself. Arreola did this against Klitschko and he is well respected for it. It’s not the stuff of legend, but it’s the stuff of respect. But with each new setback his career inches further away from that position. Each loss or questionable win hangs like confetti draped over a sidewalk’s edge or tire-marked and crusted against the asphalt until it’s swept away, long after the cause for celebration can be remembered.

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Arreola vs Kauffman HIGHLIGHTS: Dec. 12, 2015 - PBC on NBC



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  1. ben 12:16pm, 12/20/2015

    Agree, he definitely lost to Kauffman.  Theatrics may have contributed to his victory.  He hit Kauffman about twenty times in the back of the head, Kauffman grazed the back of his head once, and he waved his arms as if he had been stung by a hornet.  Reaction to the below the belt, but not on target punch was priceless too.  All thoses stretches and breathless parades around the ring…

  2. bikermike 06:25pm, 12/17/2015

    Seaver writes ....‘that means a more deserving young talent gets bypassed…’
    I’m sure many of the knowledgeable posters here can name a half dozen more deserving young lions who should be able to send the mexican eclipse..into retirement…rather than have to watch him get another Title shot

  3. bikermike 06:20pm, 12/17/2015

    Stepping into the ring five times since February 2012…does not contribute much to a sharp ..overwhelming performance.

  4. Clarence George 04:26am, 12/17/2015

    Completely agree, Mike.  At his best, Arreola was never more than toward the top of the second-tier; Quarry was much more than that.

  5. Mike Casey 04:00am, 12/17/2015

    Never could see Chris Arreola making it at the very top level. He was always limited and always tinkering with his weight. A pal of mine in California told me in the early days that Chris could be the Golden State’s successor to Jerry Quarry. I just couldn’t agree.

  6. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 05:10pm, 12/16/2015

    He shouldn’t be able to land that left uppercut/crooked elbow straight right combo but he’s gotten away with it for years ...so there’s that. Two of the judges gave him the last round for Christ’s sake when his legs gave out again and he came just that close to going down. Brought his baby into the ring to play on the heart strings of the booing Latino fans in San Antonio. BTW why doesn’t anyone write about Granados beating the spunk out of sure thing favorite Imam?

  7. Clarence George 04:03pm, 12/16/2015

    Well-written and solid analysis.  Arreola is a likable guy, but that doesn’t in any way alter the fact that he’s at best a jumped-up journeyman at this point of his career.  By the way, however close the fights, I think he lost to Harper, Kassi, and Kauffman.

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